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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM AUGUST 23 - AUGUST 28, 2004



Column misleading

To the Editor:

The guest column Aug 6 by David Savage in The Observer is misleading.

Savage implies that scholars have reached consensus that the use of the atomic bomb on Japan was unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Debate about the bomb has been going on since 1945. Respected scholars conclude that use of the bomb was necessary. James Auer and Richard Halloran, in a 1996 Parameters article, reviewed written works on both sides of the issue. They noted criticism of Gar Alperovitz in a book by Robert Maddox, a historian at Penn State. They cite the following:

"One can only imagine what would have happened had tens of thousands of young Americans been killed or wounded on Japanese soil, and then it became known that the president had chosen not to employ weapons that might have ended the war months earlier."

They also cite an article in Commentary by Donald Kagan, a Yale historian:

"An honest examination of the evidence reveals that their leaders, in the tragic predicament common to all who have engaged in wars that reach the point where every choice is repugnant, chose the least bad course. Americans may look back on that decision with sadness, but without shame."

Savage quotes Truman, alleging revenge as his motive for using the bomb, but omitted the last two sentences of Truman's statement, "We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war."

Moving on to Iraq, Savage repeats his errors. Perhaps Savage is being hasty in his assessment. History may yet bear out that ours was the best course of action, given the circumstances.

Steve Boe

La Grande


Dental van fills big need

To the Editor:

For the third year in a row Northwest Medical Teams had its dental van in Cove to help people in need of dental care free of charge.

Mano a Mano (Hand to Hand) organizers worked hard to get this together. Melissa Over has organized the van and appointments for the past few years. This year Patty McClellend will be taking over for her. Karla Young was the interpreter for us this year, and Teresa Auguilera and Dan Leone did medical history and scheduling the appointments with patients. Keith Canwell was great as the van manager.

This year Dr. Mark Harris and Krisi Downing saw patients in the van on Monday, Dr. Sean Benson, Amy Benson and Ilo Hilton from Baker City worked on Tuesday, Dr. Patrick Nearing, Jamie Rugg, Dena Rysdam-Ledbetter and I saw patients on Wednesday, Dr. Brian Kruse and Dena Hansen worked on Thursday, and on Friday Dr. Lynn Harris and Jessica Weitlauf worked.

In the past Dr. Wes Rampton, Dr. Jim McMahan and Dr. Russ Kilpatrick have also helped us out. These doctors and staff donated their time to make this happen.

For the week we saw 51 patients and donated $10,775.00 worth of dental treatment. The Oregon Dental Foundation helped fund the program. The community really appreciates all the efforts.

Kimberly Rose

La Grande


Lending a helping hand

To the Editor:

Recently we participated in the vendors' park at Union's Grassroots Festival.

While there our handicapped youngest daughter, Deann Combs, had the misfortune of tipping her three-wheeled scooter over on top of herself.

The whole family was there in minutes, thanks to the Rasmussen group from their greeting tent, who found us. The whole group was so supporting and caring, especially Carrie Crook, the mayor of North Powder, who was campaigning for Rasmussen.

Thank goodness our daughter wasn't hurt. Her dad and sister got her up with lots of support from everybody.

The next day when we arrived, she was greeted by the Rasmussen group, still concerned and checking on her.

Rasmussen gets our vote.

Darlene and Dave Ables

North Powder


Kerry gave up hero status

To the Editor:

First let me state The Observer does an excellent job of presenting both Republican and Democrat points of view, however I feel it necessary to answer the political cartoon, which states to a returning veteran "you are a genuine American hero as long as you don't run for President".

John Kerry was a hero until he joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He then proceeded to help cause the government to reduce support for the war while many servicemen were still fighting, causing unnecessary deaths.

If he had done that during World War II, he would have been executed as a traitor. I know because I served in World War II as well as in Korea and Vietnam as a fighter pilot.

I would sure hate to serve under Kerry as commander in chief. He would probably act like President Kennedy did during the Bay of Pigs. He promised support and then did not deliver.

John W. Richards

La Grande


Unproved accusations

To the Editor:

There has been so much negative publicity covering the ESD. It appears that EWDC is determined to tear down a program that helps students and families. At the February board meeting, superintendents, county juvenile directors and others voiced their approval the ESD programs, administrators, board of directors and staff.

Mr Stinnett's statement that ESD warehouses students is degrading and disrespectful. ESD furnishes opportunities for students to get their high school diploma or GED and direction for life.

The EWDC has not yet shown any input on how to make ESD better, just a vendetta, character assassination and false accusations.

It appears that the newest board members, Deon Strommer and Vicky Valenzuela, have been and continue to be on both sides, meeting with EWDC. Isn't this a conflict of interest or a form of treason?

I would like to know how others can listen in on the meetings. It has been publicized that they don't let just anyone in. What is the catch?

Should Strommer and Valenzuela be the ones who are being recalled? Should EWDC be able to harass educators and staff in this way but scream harassment when the arrows are pointed towards their group?

Strommer demands respect, not by proving himself reliable, believable and accountable, but only because he is on the board of directors.

During the ESD board meetings and through the recall petition, EWDC, to which Strommer belongs, has shown disrespect to other board members.

And shame on the publication that picks and chooses to print only partial information from unproved accusations and prints the information without documenting its accuracy. And then, finding they have printed false information, says Oops, a misprint on page x. Damage to a person or group cannot be repaired by an Oops.

D. Chandler

La Grande


No one above law

To the Editor:

Ah, the election year — it seems to bring out the best and the worst in the candidates, even in a small town like La Grande.

Take our race for sheriff of Union County, for example.

Just how far will a person go to influence the vote of another? In mid-June The Observer headline read "Union County DA jailed."

What a joke!

Having spent some time in that jail, let me tell you that Mr. Birnbaum may have been in jail physically, but the similarities stop there.

Mr. Birnbaum had all the amenities of home, per the orders of Dana Wright, who also left word that "anything the DA wants, the DA gets" — his own personal clothing, the use of his cell phone, specially prepared meals. I sure wish my vote was as important to Dana Wright as Mr. Birnbaum's.

But wait, my vote is important. Boyd Rasmussen for sheriff. He's fair, he's honest and he doesn't believe that some people are above the law.

Michael Tildon

La Grande


Minimum dump fee unfair

To the Editor:

I would like to share a story of a used bed.

My daughter and son-in-law were kind enough to buy me a new bed, and I decided to give the used one to The Salvation Army. We loaded it up in my pickup truck and headed for La Grande.

Due to a prior effort to donate items to The Salvation Army I knew they would not accept anything until after 11 a.m. so we planned our arrival at that time. When we got there we were told that they could not accept the bed until after noon, so we did some shopping and came back.

The man who inspected the bed said he would take everything but the box springs. It did look soiled compared to the new mattress, so I decided to drop it off at the new waste center on the way back to Union.

The attendant there looked into the bed of my pickup and told me that she could charge me for not covering my load.

Egads I thought, maybe I should have bought a canopy for the pickup. The next thing I was told was they had a minimum off-load price of $10. I would like to leave the used-bed story here and say something about the trash that is being dumped by our rivers, streams and mountains.

I will go on record that I am very much opposed to this practice and would turn anyone in that I saw doing so. This is not about the profit or loss column of the waste center. But $10 for one item? This is outrageous. This price contributes to illegal dumping. I hope someone out there has an ideal how this problem could be solved.

I paid the $10.

As for The Salvation Army — never again.

George Blanton



Hold ESD board accountable

To the Editor:

In the letters to the editor in The Observer Aug. 17, Howard Butts thanked Judd Koehn for "straight talk" in his advice to be aware of hidden agendas.

Mr. Koehn argued that the UBESD board should be offered kudos for its responsible purchase of an airplane. I wonder if the readers know that Mr. Koehn's son was, until recently, an employee of UBESD and a pilot of the aircraft. Consequently, Mr. Koehn has a hidden agenda of his own.

If you want clear facts that substantiate the ethical and fiscal misconduct within UBESD, you should listen to the Education Workforce Development Committee.

Federal and state investigators are listening and responding.

Recall efforts are unpleasant yet necessary to ensure a board that has the strength and experience required to oversee senior administrators who are managing complicated budgets in surplus of $24 million. Unfortunately these administrators have been directing the board more than the board has directed them.

Of course it is difficult to find competent volunteers for boards and committees, but that is no reason to maintain those who are not up to the task of serving to ensure the unfettered accountability and integrity of a non-profit agency that holds our community education contracts.

Join the in the recall of Rich Cason, Kelly Anderes and Don Starr, UBESD board


Shauna Mosgrove

La Grande


ODVA services lacking

To the Editor:

I found the editorial in The Observer about layoffs at the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs very interesting. ODVA provides counseling in only one county, Marion County.

Counseling across the rest of the state is provided by county veterans' service officers. County service officers work very closely with ODVA's state service officers in the Portland office as their staff is very professional and highly regarded, but the state service officers refer veterans to their respective counties for assistance.

Cuts at ODVA will have very little, if any, effect on benefits and counseling services to veterans statewide. What will have a major effect, and has already had a major effect on these services, is ODVA's continued reduction of funding for county officers.

ODVA has not asked for an increase in funding for county service officers in about 15 years. Until the state of Oregon and ODVA act together to provide adequate and stable funding to county officers, the veterans of our state will not receive all of the benefits they are entitled to.

Not only are we going to have an increase in demand for veterans' services because of the troops called to Iraq and Afghanistan, but our World War II veterans, Korean veterans and Vietnam vets are in need of more and more services due to advancing age.

The rising cost of health care is forcing more and more veterans to seek care by the VA, and county service officers provide the assistance they need to access VA health care.

Timothy H. Jederberg

La Grande


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